Burridge began a new league campaign at Station Road. Entering the field in their changed strip of all red to contest their awaiting hosts in blue. Twenty-two players set against green baize like some almighty Subbuteo table. The scene was set. Set to witness Kristian Hewitt strike. And how! Hitting a thirty yard rocket flying at goal. Breath was held. Time seemed to stop. The ball gathered pace. It was heading for the top corner. It was what dreams are made of. It was one-nil to Burridge. Whose each and every outfield player raced towards Hewitt in a red embrace that screamed yes at the top of their lungs in hearty celebration. It rang in Netley’s ears. Who were left with nothing to do but make their way back into position in silence.
The floodlights flickered their way into life as the second half got underway. Netley attempted to throw the kitchen sink at the Burridge, but in doing so they left themselves exposed. Ben Rowe burst through on goal. Calmly tucking away to make it two. Sixteen year old Rob Kelly swung in a centre from the right flank. It sailed in. Frustration got the better of Netley, giving away a needless penalty. Newly introduced substitute Greg Baker did what he usually does from twelve yards and scored.
Netley’s last minute penalty was scant consolation. This Burridge performance made you forget about all those desperately indifferent performances on cold February afternoons. When the ball spends more time threatening car windscreens in adjacent car parks than goalkeeper’s reflexes. Mediocrity that as years pass seems to grow in weight. Making you think, that surely you have something better to do. Anything. Even if it’s creosoting that broken fence in the back garden. But that fence can hold out for another year.